Kan Eang@Pier is a long-established restaurant specialising in seafood and local delicacies. Located on the shore of Chalong Bay, right next to the jetty, it features both indoor and outdoor dining areas and offers great views of the marina. 'Kan eang' roughly translates as 'easy going' and it's true that, for a large restaurant dealing with so many people on a daily basis, the atmosphere at Kan Eang still stays somewhat laid back and relaxed.
For many visitors to the island, Kan Eang@Pier is a must-do experience that rates along with FantaSea or Simon Cabaret - it is essentially part of Phuket's personality.
It's amazing what imagination, style and taste can do with a few hundred square metres of seafront property. Predominantly wood and glass, the restaurant is large (there's space for 500 people to dine here) but still manages to fit in some nice little nooks and crannies. How it does this is through clever use of outdoors and indoors décor.
Al fresco diners can enjoy the sea breeze and unbeatable view while sitting under huge 'hoo gwang' and tamarind trees which, to the owners' credit, have been untouched since time immemorial. For indoors dining there are three tastefully decorated air-conditioned salas as well as two open-sided dining salas – each with a thatched roof.
Why do people choose to chow down in uncomfortable rudimentary beach bamboo huts when they could be sitting in air-conditioned comfort? Because of the views, of course. A good view almost always produces a good atmosphere and Kan Eang@Pier commands a remarkable panorama of Chalong Bay and its surrounding islands.
There is also a breakfast outlet/café so there's really something for everyone. Intimacy is not a word to describe the restaurant's atmosphere but its good taste and clever, chic décor more than make up for it.
Kan Eang's two house wines are Vin de Pays d'Oc. The Chardonnay and Merlot both go for 175 baht a glass and 750 baht for a bottle. The rest of the wine list has a fair balance between New and Old World and is refreshingly inexpensive – no US$ 200 labels here. Those clever people from Wine Connection have a mini-branch on the grounds so you're spoilt for choice.
Beers are from 70-90 baht a small bottle and there's a good juice and smoothie list. The air-conditioned bar is something else – a voyeur's dream – with views out to the pier and the everyday life of a working port and Chalong – believe me – can get interesting if you stop to take a look.
Classic Chinese-Thai seafood. Deep-fried freshwater weed with shrimp in batter may sound pretty weird but it tastes great. As does the combination of water chestnut, ginko nuts, dried chili and onion, cashew nuts, stir-fried chicken in an edible – yes edible, taro basket. That turned some heads, I can tell you.
The baked Phuket lobster in butter is a lesson in freshness and the seafood basket – grilled tiger prawns, jackfish, crab and squid – a sight for sore eyes. The tom ka gai – chicken in coconut milk – at KEP is one of the best I have tasted. This is not light food and you'll be pretty full by the end of the evening so pace yourself and order accordingly.
The waiters and waitresses at Kan Eang@Pier have been there a long time and their professional yet relaxed service is a credit to the place. One last word: the restaurant has ramps fitted throughout for wheelchair users.
Where Is It?
Chalong is on the east coast of Phuket and therefore quite a hike from the touristy centres of Patong, Karon or Kata. As you come down Kata Hill into Chalong itself, carry on straight after the roundabout towards the sea; KEP is at the end of the road on the right – by the pier, amazingly enough.
The restaurant has room enough to park your Bentley/Ferrari/Daihatsu and a chap to blow a whistle as you do so but just in case the parking is full or his whistle is broken there's lots of space outside. If you come by taxi or tuk tuk make sure the driver doesn't hang a left at the roundabout and head towards the other Kan Eang – a kilometer down the road.
- Opening Hours: 10:30 – 23:00
- Location: Right at the Chalong Pier
- Address: 44/1 Viset Road, Moo 5, Chalong
- Tel: +66 (0)7 638 1212